What Are the Steps to Take if You or a Friend Consumed a Spiked Drink?

Spiked drinks (people consuming beverages that, without their knowledge, have been drugged or have alcohol added to them) is a growing problem — especially on college campuses. Women are at a greater risk than men for having their drinks spiked. This tactic is used for various reasons, including seemingly innocent pranks and more serious attempts at rape or robbery.

Despite precaution awareness, there are still increasing numbers of incidents of drink spiking that result in serious repercussions. We’ll discuss what to do if your drink has been spiked, spiked drink symptoms, and how to get help.

What to Do if Your Drink Has Been Spiked

It’s important to act quickly if you believe that your friend’s drink or yours was spiked. Certain drugs, such as date rape drugs or fentanyl can have harmful side effects, including overdose. The following are steps that can be taken to prevent further harm:

  1. Recognize the symptoms of consuming a spiked drink.
  2. Get to a safe place.
  3. Get trusted help.
  4. Go to an emergency room or doctor.
  5. Have trusted company at all times.
  6. Get psychological help.

Recognize the Symptoms of Consuming a Spiked Drink

When in a situation where drink spiking is suspected, it is important to know what symptoms to watch for. Spiked drink symptoms include:

  • Feeling dizzy, faint, or sleepy.
  • Experiencing nausea or other feelings of illness.
  • Speech difficulties, such as slurring words.
  • Feeling more drunk or intoxicated than expected based on alcohol consumed.
  • Passing out or experiencing blackouts.

All of these may be signs that an individual has consumed a spiked drink. If it is suspected, the following steps can help keep the individual safe from further harm.

Get to a Safe Place

If you suspect that someone’s drink has been spiked, make sure the individual is safe. If the person is still at the bar, party, or other place where their cocktail or beverage was spiked it is important to get that person away from the situation and the people there. This can be vital to making sure the person is not at further risk from the person who spiked the drink to begin with. This could prevent rape or robbery.

If it is later in the evening or the next day, and the person is no longer where their drink was spiked, it’s important to ensure that they aren’t at risk of further harm from the effects of the substances. For instance, make sure the person does not try to drive a car or do something else that can pose a risk if there are lingering effects from the drug.

Get Trusted Help

When the person is safe, it is important to seek out others who can provide active support, such as trusted friends, parents, or the management of the establishment in which the problem occurred. Nearby police officers, security, or even emergency management personnel can help.

This has two purposes. First of all, it can provide additional safety and support for the individual. Secondly, these people may be able to help with the following steps while making sure that the individual can also be safely guarded and observed for any deterioration of physical or mental condition.

Go to the Emergency Room or a Doctor

Whether the spiked drink has just been consumed or is suspected to have been consumed the previous evening, it is important to get medical help right away. Medical professionals at emergency departments can:

  • Help manage potential injury or harm caused by the substance.
  • Determine by testing what substance was used.
  • Determine whether other evidence of assault or rape is present.
  • Help the person to report the event to police.

Have Trusted Company at All Times

While the person is detoxing from the substance, it can be important for someone who is trusted to be with that individual at all times, not only to observe any potential changes in condition, but also to provide comfort and support in dealing with the aftermath of the event. Both the drug and the realization of what happened can have a profound emotional and mental effect on the individual who has been the victim of a spiked drink.

People who can advocate and support the individual are vital in helping to get professional help and initiate an investigation of the attack, if possible.

Get Psychological Help

For an individual who has been a victim of drink spiking, and potentially of a resulting sexual or physical assault, it can be vital to get counseling or another form of psychological support.  Trying to process the effect that an event like this can have can be challenging without professional support, and may lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

Working with a support group is also an option. Organizations like the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) can provide group support for victims of sexual assault perpetrated through spiked drinks.

Spiked Drink FAQs

If you believe that you or someone you know has been the victim of drink spiking, it’s important to seek help right away. It’s not uncommon to have questions about what drugs are used to spike drinks, how long the substances can stay in your system, and to find resources to help you or a loved one.

What Is Used to Spike a Drink?

According to research, including some from the Postgraduate Medical Journal, alcohol is actually the most commonly used substance for spiking drinks. However, other drugs can include stimulants like ecstasy, depressants like Ketamine or GHB, or benzodiazepines such as Rohypnol, which is often referred to as the “date rape drug.” Other drugs like cocaine and heroin can be used as well.

How Common Is Drink Spiking?

Drink spiking is more common than might be reported and is believed to be underreported. Individuals may not be aware that their drink was spiked, for instance, and believe they might have had “one too many.”

According to a study cited by the American Psychological Association, approximately 8% of surveyed college students said that they were victims of drink spiking, and another 1.4% said they knew someone who had their drink spiked.

How Long Does a Spiked Drink Stay in Your System?

The effects of a spiked drink will vary, depending on the substance used, the combination of substances (e.g., alcohol and ketamine), how much of the drug is in the body, and individual factors such as physical and mental health. Alcohol can enhance the effects of other drugs.

What Are the After Effects of Being Spiked?

According to the Office of Women’s Health, some after effects of consuming a spiked drink include:

  • Feeling excessively hung over, even if you haven’t had any alcohol.
  • Lapses in memory (e.g., “blackouts”).
  • Confusion and feeling mentally “foggy.”
  • Unexpected bruises, bleeding, scrapes, or cuts.

Are There Laws Against Spiking Someone’s Drink?

Most states have made it illegal to tamper with or spike someone’s drink.

Get Help for Drugs or Alcohol at Sunrise House

If you or someone you love may be struggling with alcohol or drug use there is effective and compassionate evidence-based help at our drug rehab in Lafayette, NJ. Contact our caring and knowledgeable admissions navigators at to get more information about Sunrise House’s different levels of rehab and how we can help you.

When you’re ready to start treatment, our navigators are on hand to help answer your questions about the rehab admissions process, rehab payment options, and to help you find out if your insurance covers rehab.

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